The National Committee for Mathematical Sciences has conducted a mid-term review of the 2016 decadal plan The mathematical sciences in Australia: a vision for 2025.
The decadal plan presented an overview of the priorities, objectives, goals and recommendations for the mathematical sciences in Australia. The review has found that the original objectives of the decadal plan remain relevant and important to the community, and opportunities arising in the changing sector should continue to be identified and progressed.
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The 2016 decadal plan The mathematical sciences in Australia: a vision for 2025 presented an overview of the priorities, objectives, goals and recommendations for the mathematical sciences in Australia over the following decade. Now halfway through its lifetime, the National Committee for Mathematical Sciences presents a review of this plan and notes updates against the objectives identified by the mathematical sciences community in 2016.
The decadal plan set out objectives for Australia to improve access for school students to outstanding mathematics teachers, guarantee high standards of mathematical sciences training at a tertiary level, achieve global and local impact from Australian mathematical sciences research, and see benefits to the nation from mathematics-based technologies. These objectives informed 12 recommendations that would enable progress against the objectives.
This review has highlighted that there are significant challenges facing the mathematical sciences community. The recent impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the university sector have caused notable losses to the mathematical sciences research community, including the exacerbation of gender imbalances in the mathematical sciences workforce. In addition, changing governmental policies for the university sector do not align with government’s stated goals and expectations and are not supported with appropriate funding for the research sector to realise them.
These impacts affect not just mathematical sciences research outputs but also the quality of mathematical and statistical education available at all levels. Many within the community are concerned about these impacts on the discipline.
The review found that the original objectives of the decadal plan remain relevant and important to the community, and opportunities arising in the changing sector should continue to be identified and progressed. These opportunities can only be realised with appropriate recognition of the role of the mathematical sciences in responding to developing areas of interest from the government and research sectors, paired with infrastructure and resourcing.
In particular, the review recommends:
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